28 November – 2 December: this week in the Lords

It’s a full week ahead for the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, with business on all five days but, before I start, I should note the sad loss of Nigel Jones, who passed away three weeks ago. Max Wilkinson has written movingly about him, and our Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby, offered his own thoughts. Our belated condolences go out to his family and friends.

Sally Hamwee chairs the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee and, on Monday, introduces its report, “Technology rules? The advent of new technologies in the justice system”. The report looks at the use of Artificial Intelligence by police forces and draws some worrying conclusions. Tim Clement-Jones, Sarah Ludford and Brian Paddick will also be reflecting their concerns during this Grand Committee debate.

In the main Chamber, the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, sponsored by Green peer, Jenny Jones, reaches its Report Stage, whilst the Government’s Procurement Bill also reaches its Report Stage.

Tuesday sees the Lords debate the Autumn Statement, which should be lively given how well it has been received. Chris Fox, Susan Kramer, Tim Razzall and John Shipley will all be offering a Liberal Democrat critique of Conservative tax and spending priorities, although there’ll be some interest in the contributions of a string of heavy hitters from across the House, including Norman Lamont.

Intriguingly, elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster, the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, will be giving evidence to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee…

The Ballot Secrecy Bill, which addresses interference in the polling booth, is one of the highlights of Wednesday’s business, whilst the Procurement Bill continues its Report Stage.

Torsten Bell from the Resolution Foundation and Ben Zaranko from the Institute for Fuscal Studies give evidence to the Lords Public Services Committee as it conducts a follow-up to its inquiry into public services and public spending. There’s little doubt that the impending squeeze on public spending will harm the ability of the State to provide key services, and this might be an opportunity to find out what experts think might occur.

Thursday doesn’t have an awful lot of Liberal Democrat content, although our former Leader Tom McNally will be speaking in a debate on the future of the BBC World Service, whilst Lorely Burt will contribute a liberal perspective to a debate on the commitment of the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to tackle crime and misconduct within its ranks. And finally, Julie Smith will contribute to a debate on the war in Ukraine and the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

The week ends with a day of Private Members’ Bills on Friday. The two bills of most interest to Liberal Democrats will be Dominic Addington’s Health Promotion Bill, seeking to re-establish the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities as the Office of Health Promotion and to establish a National Plan for Sport, and Susan Kramer’s Protection of Whistleblowing Bill, which seeks greater protection for whistleblowers generally. In truth, neither Bill is likely to gain further Parliamentary time unless the Government takes it up, but it offers an opportunity to raise these issues and hopefully gain publicity for them.

* Mark Valladares is the somewhat erratic Lords Correspondent for Liberal Democrat Voice.

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One Comment

  • William Wallace 29th Nov '22 - 10:45am

    Mark as ‘somewhat erratic’? Surely not – wonderfully dependable and reliable.

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